Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What I'm Reading

"My God! What is this country doing to me? Since it is rejecting me, let us consider it coldly, let us watch as it loses its honour and its life. And the other countries? What are they to me? Empires are dying. Nothing matters. Whether you look at it from a mystical or a personal point of view, it's just the same. Let us keep a cool head. Let us harden our heart. Let us wait."  - Handwritten notes of Irene Nemirovsky in the appendix of Suite Francaise 

Suite Francais is a fascinating read. Two of the five intended parts make up the book that was to be Nemirovsky's War and Peace (or so they say). However, her life was cut short as she was a victim of Auschwitz due to her Jewish heritage. This book was just published in 2004, as Nemirovsky's daughter only discovered the manuscript in an old suitcase in the late 1990's. It's evident at times that the book was a work in progress, yet it is still so intriguing to read, perhaps, one of the first recorded pieces of life during World War II. The two novellas, intended to capture life in France during the occupation by Germany, are fascinating in their tales but also in what they don't discuss: Nemirovsky's Jewish heritage. Fascinating. I highly recommend reading this one!

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